PES Migration and Integration Network hails Commission’s efforts to safeguard young refugees and migrants

25/01/2022

PES Migration and Integration Network meeting by videconference

PES Migration and Integration Network meeting by videconference

Europe must continue to protect and address the needs of vulnerable and often unaccompanied refugee and other migrant children, the PES Migration and Integration Network agreed today as it welcomed Commissioner Ylva Johansson’s work in this area.

MEPs, representatives from PES member parties and organisations, and NGOs convened by videoconference with Commissioner Johansson to discuss minors in migration.

The issue remains highly important, particularly for Mediterranean countries. Under Commissioner Johansson, relocation and resettlement has been stepped up. Commissioner Johansson has further set out measures to better protect, support and take care of the best interests of all migrant children.

Socialists and democrats back the comprehensive response to ensure that migrant children are swiftly identified when they arrive in the EU, and that they receive child-adequate treatment, reception and access to education and healthcare. 

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said:

“How we treat children shows our values. Migrant children are among the most vulnerable, and in the Migration and Asylum Pact we prioritise children's perspectives throughout the proposal. Among the proposals are to ensure the child's right to be heard throughout the procedure, unaccompanied minors must be appointed guardians within 15 days, we simplify the rules of evidence for family reunification and we urge member states to provide effective alternatives to detention for children."

Chair of the PES Migration and Integration Network, Swedish MP Carina Ohlsson from SAP, said:

“We are pleased that under this Commissioner, child protection is a central priority in the Pact on Migration and Asylum and the Action Plan on Inclusion and Integration.

“Children are foremost children and should be treated that way. Children should be our top priority as they are the most vulnerable, especially when they have nobody to guide them. We need to step up the relocation of minors and we need concrete actions to better address the needs of all children at all stages of migration and enhance their inclusion in our society.

“Social democrats, together, can build a more inclusive and equal Europe which looks after the vulnerable and which truly represents increasingly vibrant, diverse and open societies.”

The Network also received a presentation on the ChildMove Project at Ghent University from Professor Ilse Derluyn, who has been researching the experiences of Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URMs). The project studies the psychological wellbeing of URMs transiting/settling in Libya, Italy, Greece, and Belgium. The report formulates policy recommendations and practices.